It’s time to focus on real food – check out Canadian Food Focus

As a dietitian, I’m often called upon by the media to comment on various nutrition issues. But one story that won’t go away is that of the Beyond Meat burger.

I’ve been writing about it since January as I had tasted their sausage while in the U.S. earlier that month. It was only after I saw the sausage and read the nutrition label that I realized that some of these plant-based meat alternatives were not what they appeared to be: a healthy convenience food for those looking to decrease their meat intake. They were, in fact, ultra-processed. From a nutrition perspective, these are fine occasionally as any commercial fast food might be.

But here it is six months later and the questions about this product just keep on coming. I can’t count how many media interviews I’ve done over the past while.

Here’s just one link from CBC: Beyond Meat says its burgers are healthier than beef. Health experts aren’t so sure

But one thing that has come up in the discussions about these burgers is that we need to solve the problem involving the lack of food literacy, including cooking skills, the result of which is an over dependence on ultra-processed foods.

A recent report, commissioned by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, noted that we consume over 48% of our calories from ultra-processed foods while young people eat a whopping about 57% of their calories from these products. They also point to the link between these foods and an increased risk of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

We need to get back to basics. We need to learn about where our food comes from and how to prepare it. It’s our way back to healthy eating.

I’ve recently become a contributor to a wonderful resource – Canadian Food Focus. It’s a gathering place to tell readers about Canadian food and farming stories. The site will explore how food is grown and raised, share recipes and provide useful advice to help you make confident food choices – along with gorgeous photos to entice you.

The organizers recognize that, for many Canadians, time for food preparation may be at a minimum and the information reflects this. The  In Your Kitchen  section currently offers articles such as   Teens in the Kitchen; How to Make the World’s Best Pancakes and Your Money-Saving Guide to String Tomatoes while the On the Farm section includes info such as Sustainable Farming: How do Farmers Plant their Crops?; and How do Bees Survive Canadian Winters?

Besides these offerings, there are also sections devoted to recipes, health information and food stories about their contributors. Be sure to check mine out!

You can also sign up to receive the latest information. Spread the word. Let’s enjoy Canada’s real food.

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Categories: Nutrition News, Whole Foods

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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